Attracting the Support You Need

Having the best group of stakeholders available requires commitment and an understanding of what attracts quality.

The quality of your leadership will determine the quality of the people you attract. That applies equally to your volunteers, donors, staff, students, families, referral sources, and advocates. The quality of leadership is dependent on the leadership’s character and conduct. Conduct is an outward indicator of what the leadership values. It is important to ensure the leaders share the same values. The values must be articulated and agreed to before someone is allowed to join the leadership team. Quality must be constantly audited and the standards raised. A high-quality leadership team would never assume their values and standards were obvious.

When quality is audited, it improves. When it is left unaudited, it deteriorates. High-quality leaders look forward to the audit because they know the results will provide them with guidance for growth and new ideas for raising the standard. The best leaders know that where quality is concerned, good enough is never good enough.

There is more to a stakeholder’s selection process than quality. They also want the parochial school and its leadership to produce meaningful results, provide durable value, have measurable evidence, be innovative, a leader in its field, to be thriving, and have a high level of sustainability. Stakeholders want confidence that the school will continue to provide world-class services for a long time; therefore a history of world-class service is an encouraging sign.

Next Step:

Assess the quality of your leadership and determine how to improve it

Assess your school’s results, value creation, evidence, innovation history, and level of sustainability to guide how to increase the attractiveness of your school among potential supporters

Use the change in your support as an indicator of the quality of your leadership

Managers declare some problems too difficult to solve. Leaders find solutions. Solutions to important problems attract support. The important problems are never easy to solve but the support a parochial school receives justifies the effort. If the support you attract is less than you expected, develop a second-generation solution with greater depth, breadth, and value.

If your leadership team (volunteer and professional) is dissatisfied with the quality of your stakeholders or any stakeholder group, catalogue the areas where improvements are needed in that group. Raise your entire school’s standards in those areas. When your school’s performance improves you will notice an improvement in the group that attracted your attention. For example, if you are dissatisfied with donor engagement and generosity, increase the engagement and generosity of all of your stakeholders. Donors will only be as generous or engaged as those around them. It is the responsibility of the leaders to provide an example of what generosity and engagement mean. In other words, ensure your board and professional leadership model what you want your other stakeholders to be.

Take It Further:

Ensure your board candidates are the quality leaders you want your other stakeholders to emulate

Set standards that make supporting your school the first choice of all prospective stakeholders (high-quality stakeholders have a wide range of choices of who to support – become their best choice)


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